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This answer quotes Apollo Program Summary Report and includes the sentence:

During the Apollo 17 mission, dust on the lunar module floor was swept into floor receptacles which were sealed before lift-off, but some dust was still present in the cabin atmosphere after lunar orbit insertion.

Question: Was the floor of the Apollo 17 lunar module modified from previous LM's to have these recepticles added (I'm imagining some hole in the floor with a sealed box below it), or are these above-floor receptables affixed to the floor? Are there photos or drawings?


enter image description here click for full size, Source: https://www.classicindustries.com/product/1967/chevrolet/impala/parts/4772998.html

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  • $\begingroup$ Umm, isn't that picture an ashtray? $\endgroup$ – DrSheldon Sep 12 at 23:41
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    $\begingroup$ @DrSheldon yes, from a '67 Chevy Impala. Here's one form a Chevy Nova if you think that sounds more space-related ;-) $\endgroup$ – uhoh Sep 12 at 23:44
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    $\begingroup$ okay even closer; here's one for a 1973-1975 Buick Apollo! $\endgroup$ – uhoh Sep 13 at 6:50
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There isn't much documentation on the design or evolution of the LM floor. There are holes where dust could plausibly be swept into, but it's not clear whether they were designed for that purpose.

The Apollo 17 Mission Report, p. 10-15 calls them "holes":

Prior to ascent from the lunar surface, the cabin activities included covering all holes in the lunar module floor into which dust had collected or could be swept. Although considerable dust appeared in the cabin upon insertion, taping the holes definitely prevented a major dust problem in zero-g.

The Apollo LM Operations Handbook, p. 1-6 mentions "handgrips" recessed in the floor:

The crew compartment deck measures approximately 36 by 55 inches. It is constructed of aluminum honeycomb bonded to two sheets of aluminum alloy. Non­flammable Velcro pile strips, which contact hooked Velcro material on the astronaut boots, are bonded to the deck surface. Handgrips, recessed in the deck, aid the astronauts during egress and ingress through the forward hatch.

Originally I thought that the ascent engine cover my also have had pockets to sweep dust into, but I am no longer convinced of that.

It seems that there may have been changes to the LM floor throughout the program. Compare this picture of a LM at KSC:

LM floor, at KSC

to this one from the Smithsonian:

LM floor, at Air and Space Museum

There certainly are holes in the floor where dust could be swept into. And at least one of the slots on the floor of the Smithsonian photo looks does like a handhold.

Sorry, no ashtrays.

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    $\begingroup$ Is the top picture a mockup or simulator? $\endgroup$ – Organic Marble Sep 13 at 16:26
  • $\begingroup$ @OrganicMarble: Argh, I just closed all the tabs I used to answer the question. If I remember correctly, it was taken at KSC, but on some person's private site, not an official NASA photograph. $\endgroup$ – DrSheldon Sep 13 at 16:31
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    $\begingroup$ No problem! Since the LEM upper stages didn't come back, the ones in museums, etc. sometimes are not representative of the photos we see in the flight units. Best to add links to picture sources early! $\endgroup$ – Organic Marble Sep 13 at 16:34
  • $\begingroup$ So maybe "sealed" would be with gray tape? $\endgroup$ – uhoh Sep 15 at 5:14
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    $\begingroup$ @uhoh: I do believe it was gray tape. The stowage lists never say "gray tape" or "duct tape", but part #SEB12100050 is variously called TAPE,UTILITY, TAPE,ROLL, or just TAPE. At launch, there was one roll in the CM, and one roll in the LM. "Did Apollo carry gray tape" would make a good question. $\endgroup$ – DrSheldon Sep 15 at 6:03

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